From Paris, France to New York, New York: Anne-Marie Berraute ‘19LL.M Builds a Career in International Law

Anne Marie Barraute '19LL.M.
March 2, 2020

As she stood for the swearing in ceremony at the Appellate Division, Second Department’s majestic courthouse in Brooklyn, Anne-Marie Berraute knew it was a milestone moment. She was about to become a member of the New York Bar, a journey to international law practice that began when she was a teenager living in the suburbs of Paris.

“I knew by age 15 that I wanted to go to law school,” Berraute says. “I love to argue, which gave a hard time to my parents when I was younger. I thought that being a lawyer would give me ample opportunity to do that and develop my arguments.” After earning her undergraduate degree in International Law at Paris II Panthéon-Assas University, Berraute heard about a dual diploma Master of Laws (LL.M.) program offered by St. John’s Law in partnership with Lyon Catholic University Law School.

“The program seemed to be a great fit for me,” she says, reflecting on the unique opportunity to graduate with an LL.M. in Transnational Legal Practice (TLP) from St. John’s and an LL.M. in International Trade and Investment Law from Lyon Catholic University. “I was also excited to see that I could prepare to take the New York Bar exam as part of the program.”

Berraute and her classmates spent the fall semester studying in Lyon, France and arrived at St. John’s New York City campus for the spring semester, joining a larger TLP class that included students from around the world. Taught entirely in English, they took courses designed for lawyers interested in in international trade, customs, and investment positions and explored topics ranging from regional trade agreements, EU trade law, and trade and development, to international banking regulation and bilateral investment treaties, among others.

Staying in the United States for the summer, Berraute worked as an intern at Purnell, McKennett & Menke PC, a law firm in Virginia. St. John’s incorporates this kind of for-credit field work into its LL.M. program as Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. “I was lucky that the partners and lawyers at the firm gave me various assignments which exposed me to a wide range of areas of the law,” says Berraute. “It was my first legal experience in the U.S., and one that a future American employer could refer to.”

As she completed her studies at St. John’s, Berraute prepared for the New York bar exam, tapping the resources St. John’s offers its LL.M. students. She took Applied Legal Analysis for a thorough review of key bar-tested subjects and tailored writing exercises, practice, and support. She also attended Bar Supplement Lectures that cover commonly tested vocabulary and concepts and provide individualized feedback and essay review.

Her hard work paid off when Berraute passed the bar exam on her first try. “St. John’s bar prep classes helped me and made me pass the bar,” she shares. “It is very useful to understand and learn the subjects tested on the exam, but it is also a great opportunity to gain confidence when you are a foreign student. The professors are used to working with foreign students and their class is the perfect environment to develop your legal reasoning and overcome the language barrier by pushing yourself to participate. They pushed the limits I had and allowed me to deepen my legal reasoning.”

With her formal LL.M. studies and the bar exam behind her, Berraute could focus on building her work experience with the help of St. John’s dedicated career counselor, Sara Drew. “I work with our LL.M. students exclusively as they discover the career path and the employment opportunities that are right for them,” Drew says. “They benefit tremendously from our location in New York City, the heart of international commerce, and from our extensive alumni network.”

Under a government-sanctioned extension of her F-1 visa known as Optional Practical Training (OPT), Berraute spent several months working for St. John’s Law alumna and adjunct professor Rachel R. Paras ’04, who has her own law firm. She rounded out her OPT experience at Leleu & Associates, LLC, assisting with immigration and family law matters.

Today, Berraute looks forward to continuing her work in the United States. “I want to keep learning, improve my lawyering skills, and keep enjoying what I do.,” she says, adding, “In the next few years, I would like to take the French Bar and practice in an environment where I can use both systems, maybe in the international litigation department of a law firm.”

As she builds an international career, Berraute is grateful for her time at St. John’s Law. “St. John’s is a wonderful environment where I found a family away from home,” she says. “From classmates, to professors and anybody I met or worked with there, they all helped me become the lawyer I am today.”